The shuttered Mission Valley Middle School has edged one step closer to redevelopment.
By LUKE RANKER
Special to The Star
The Tutera Group officially filed plans Friday with Prairie Village to turn the vacant school into a senior living community called Mission Chateau. The community is designed to encompass several areas of senior needs and features duplex-style villas, independent and assisted living, a memory care unit and rehabilitation services. All together, the complex would have 350 patient units and employ 85 staff members.
The filing kicks off the city of Prairie Village’s official approval process. The plans are mostly the same as those first outlined to residents in March after Tutera tweaked the design to accommodate neighbors’ concerns.
Joe Tutera, CEO of the Tutera Group, said that if the process goes smoothly Mission Chateau would be open sometime in 2015.
Assistant City Administrator Dennis Enslinger said the city would not be finished reviewing Tutera’s submission until later this week. He said the Planning Commission hopes to hold a public hearing on May 7 followed by a second public hearing and deliberation on June 4. If everything goes as planned, the proposal could be in front of the City Council by July. Enslinger said this schedule is tentative, but residents can check the Mission Valley Development project page on the city’s website, www.pvkansas.com, for updates.
The future of the property at 8500 Mission Road has been the subject of neighborhood concern since the Shawnee Mission School District closed and sold the school at the end of the 2010-11 school year. Tutera’s original proposal last year included both retail and senior living.
But in May the Prairie Village City Council voted to zone property R-1A for residential use only. Some residents who live near the former school don’t want the senior living portion of the development either.
Since January, Tutera has organized three public meetings to allow residents to voice their opinion of the development.
A third design unveiled in March was meant to address neighbors’ concerns. Tutera presented that design to the city planning commission last week.
Tutera said in a phone interview he was pleased with the process so far. Based in Kansas City, the Tutera Group runs 12 senior living centers in the metro area and 40 nationwide.
“We’re excited to get the formal process started,” he said.
Tutera said he thought the newest design addressed all the major concerns.
“I’m really proud of the plan we’ve got,” Tutera said. “It’s well refined and well thought out.”
The new plan reduced the complex’s footprint from 210,663 square feet to 182,009 square feet and significantly reduced the storm water runoff by about half.
Tutera said about 85 households participated in discussions about the property over the past four months.
Prior to the Tutera Group’s presentation to the Planning Commission on last week, Brenda Satterlee of the Mission Valley Neighborhood Association voiced her continued frustration with the development. She said the majority of residents at the previous three public meetings were opposed to the project. She said the development was still too dense for the neighborhood.
“They will tell you they addressed our views. We will tell you they have not,” Satterlee told the commission.
But not everyone in the area is opposed to seeing senior living on the site. Nick Hulsing lives three blocks from the site and drives past it daily. He said he thinks a retirement center is an improvement over the original proposal for a shopping center. Hulsing said through his work at Reliable Medical Supplies he has noticed a need for senior living throughout the area.
“It’s only going to get worse as the Baby Boomers age,” he said.
Judy Toalson has lived in Prairie Village or Mission Hills for more than 45 years and all of her children went to Mission Valley Middle School. Toalson said she and her husband William, both in their early 70s, are on a waiting list for a retirement community in southern Johnson County. The community, she said, is similar to the proposed Mission Chateau.
“It’d be a shame to have to move out of Prairie Village,” she said.